John Le Carré: Smiley's People (3567 words)


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Smiley’s People (1979) concludes the trilogy, known as The Quest for Karla, by John le Carré (penname for John David Moore Cornwell). In eleven of le Carré’s 26 novels, George Smiley appears as a reluctant but ultimately moral spymaster who aids his British secret service, called in the novels the Circus, as a career intelligence operative or an outside investigator, and as a consist advocate for humanism and reason. A personification of St. George, the patron saint of Britain, in the Quest trilogy Smiley exposes a traitor within the Circus, rescues his professional institution, intimidates and defeats Karla—his “Black Grail” (SP, 795)—and finally …

Citation: Beene, LynnDianne. "Smiley's People". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 23 February 2021 [, accessed 14 April 2021.]

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